Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
This post is about the Flatiron Building in NYC, including its history, how to get here, tips on the best photo spots, and nearby attractions.
When famed architect Daniel Burnham’s design for the George A. Fuller’s company’s office building was completed in 1902, it was named after Fuller himself, the Fuller building. But, New Yorkers gave this building a name of their own, the Flatiron Building, because of its similarity to the household appliance, a flat iron.
With the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue forming a triangle, there was no room for a traditionally shaped building if the developer wanted to use all of the real estate available.
Instead, this plot of land, (which had always been known as the Flatiron) suggested that this, and many other buildings made at intersections would come to look like.
The Flatiron building is located at the intersection of Broadway and 5th avenue on 23rd street in Midtown Manhattan, about 10 blocks south of the Empire State Building.
Use this Google Maps link for directions to the Flatiron Building.
TIP: If you are considering purchasing a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket, then keep in mind that all of the double-decker buses make stops at the building.
The closest subway stations are the N/Q/R/W at 23rd Street Station in Madison Square Park, right in front of the building. You can also take the 6 train to 23rd Street just to the east of the building.
Lastly, you can take the F or M to 23rd Street, however, the exit is on 6th Avenue and so you will have to walk one long crosstown block to 5th Avenue.
Be sure to read our post on mastering the NYC subway system and help to choose the right MetroCard for you.
If you want to get a good photo of the Flatiron building that captures all of its architectural design, your best chance is to crouch down at the southern end of “Flatiron Plaza” just north of the building to get the view that shows both the 5th Avenue and Broadway sides of the building.
Of course, being unobstructed and only 11 blocks away from the Empire State Building makes the observation deck a great choice for snapping the old flatiron.
Unfortunately, the observation deck on top of the Flatiron Building is now closed and there are no current businesses that take in guests.
To find out about the other three observation desk in New York City take a look at the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, or One World Trade Center Observatory?
In early 2009, the Flatiron building was bought out by the Italian real estate investment firm the Sorgente Group, who plans to transform the building into a luxury hotel. However, the firm must wait until around 2019 for the building to become fully vacated after the current leases expire.
When that happens, access to the Flatiron building will become possible, and tourists who pay the price will be able to take in the views of Madison Square Park offered by the Flatiron Building.
Until then, tourists can visit Sprint on the first floor and appreciate the artwork on display in the prow art space at the front of the building sponsored by Sprint, who rotates different pieces of art throughout the years.
Because of the shape of the building, wind gusts were extremely heavy going around the building. This would cause the wind to uplift young ladies skirts, exposing their ankles, making 23rd in between Broadway and 5th a very popular hangout for young men. Policemen walking by were known to yell out “23 skidoo” to chase away any that were loitering for too long.